Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas dilemmas

A few thoughts after quickly looking at the Boxing Day ante-post markets...

For the King George, Voy Por Ustedes is short enough given we don't know for certain whether he'll stay. On better ground Air Force One would have won the Hennessy; he's likely to get his ground here but regular jockey Noel Fehily misses the ride after breaking his collar bone in a fall at Fontwell yesterday. Just one win from the last thirty runs will be something of a concern for those thinking about backing either David Pipe or Nigel Twiston-Davies trained horses. Exotic Dancer is quoted at fancy prices but has only been left in as a precaution - the Lexus Chase in Ireland is his target. On Betfair Chase form there's not much between Snoopy Loopy and Tamarinbleu. With better steering on the jockey's part, Snoopy Loopy would have beaten Monet's Garden last time out over two and a half miles. Prior to that Huntingdon effort, I was concerned that Snoopy would get done for toe if he ran here on this flat track; now I think he represents decent each-way value. He's as tough as old boots but has been busy over the past weeks - I just hope this isn't one race too many. The bookies quote 33/1 Albertas Run but the horse is trading shorter on Betfair.

I think the Christmas Hurdle is more competitive than the market would indicate. Punjabi is the short-priced favourite; Paul Nicholls has issued an unusually bullish update about Pierrot Lunaire. Richard Johnson holds Snap Tie in very high regard while Straw Bear is a previous winner who hasn't really taken to chasing this term.

The Market Man is entered in the Feltham and jumped exceptionally well at Newbury last time; he's not one to take on lightly.

Up at Wetherby connections have entered last season's Arkle winner Tidal Bay in the three mile one furlong Rowland Meyrick. Trading at around 6/4 he's worth opposing as he's not guaranteed to stay and his jumping hasn't been flawless in the past - I think the fences at Wetherby are amongst the stiffest in the country. State Of Play won the Charlie Hall here early in November but at the weights he was entitled to and he only just got home ahead of Ollie Magern. I've had burnt fingers with State Of Play before; at this stage I'm unsure. Two I'll look at in greater detail are Nozic and Cloudy Lane. Standin Obligation also enters calculations but he was inconsistent when with David Pipe - perhaps the change of stable has proved beneficial.

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